About belief or lack of belief in an afterlife: Some of you may know that I am neither Christian nor Jewish nor Buddhist, nor a conventionally religious person of any sort. I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I’m dead.
If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth.
Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.
My dad came home from a local Republican party meeting tonight with some lovely literature from the keynote speaker who is running for the U.S. Senate. There was one section that I found particularly lovely titled “My Principles,” where the speaker had three bullet points. Paraphrased, they were that 1) He is pro-life. 2) Marriage is between one man and one woman. 3) He believes the country needs to “uphold the Judeo-Christian principles that made this nation great.”
I know my parents aren’t necessarily pro-life, so that wasn’t my first issue to bring up. Similarly, my mom doesn’t oppose gay marriage, and while my dad thinks that marriage is between a man and a woman, he does believe that same-sex civil unions should carry all the same rights that marriages do. So out of the three, the third was the one that I found particularly annoying.
Any time that someone tells me this country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, I have to fight the urge to punch them squarely in the face. I usually just take the Dwight Schrute approach and tell them, “False.” This was the approach I used with my father.
I brought up that our Constitution ensures the separation of Church and state, and I said that most of the Founding Fathers were not Christians. (They were primarily freethinkers. Many of them believed in a creator because this was long before Charles Darwin, but they certainly did not believe in the Christian God of the Bible.) I’m not sure why people think that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious, but any amount of research will show otherwise.
My dad then claimed that the Christian God is in the Constitution. Dad, if you can find me a single mention of Christianity in the Constitution, I will eat my foot. I assure you, the Constitution doesn’t even acknowledge God. The only time religion is mentioned is when the Constitution is making sure that the legislature excludes it.
Here are some quotes which show that the Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves if they knew politicians were saying that they wanted to return the country to the land of Judeo-Christian values like the Fathers intended it to be.
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” - James Maddison
“I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.” - Thomas Jefferson
“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” - John Adams
“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.” - Thomas Paine
Obviously, many of the current Republicans are mistaken. If you want to believe in religion, that’s your right. Do I wish you wouldn’t? Of course. But more than anything, I just wish you wouldn’t try to use the Bible as a way of dictating legislature. A politician who justifies their political beliefs with a Bible reference is one of the last things that our Founding Fathers would have wanted to see. (Are you listening, Tea Party?) To quote Paine, “My own mind is my own Church.” I do not need an establishment to tell me what to think. I can do that for myself, thank you very much, and I certainly don’t want your establishment imposing on my rights.
tl;dr - Anyone who claims this country was established on Judeo-Christian principles obviously doesn’t know enough about our government to be considered for a position in the U. S. Senate.
A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.
All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.
Can we imagine, or even believe in, something that doesn’t exist? Sure we can. Just talk with those who have been abducted by aliens. If some unseen thing is believed by many, e.g., angels, it is called faith. If a thing is believed by only one, and is wildly outside the gates of common sense and experience, then the belief, e.g., suddenly realizing that one’s guardian angel is made of grape jelly and having him (there are no female angels—check your bible, you can win bets on this) on toast, it is called psychosis. The problem is that the invisible and the non-existence look much the same. Christmas beliefs fall somewhere between the province of priest and psychiatrist.
Oh wow, I completely forgot about historical contextualization! You know, that thing that also makes it completely okay for the Bible to justify slavery, because you know, it was a long time ago. Kind of like how slavery in the United States was completely okay up until the emancipation because, you know, that was kinda sort of a long time ago as well… and… historical contextualization… and stuff… yeah… (If you’re interested in what the Bible says about slavery, check out these links: Old Testment & New Testament)
*sigh* I’m genuinely not opposed to people bringing up counterpoints, really! I love discussions, and I’ve had good ones about theology before. But please, if you’re going to make a point, make it a good one. I fail to see how it would have been impossible for God to condemn slavery in the times of the Old and New Testaments, because he sure did condemn a lot of other random shit.
Also, I was not hatefully generalizing Christians. Please, point to the part of that post where I made a generalization about Christians. That post was actually a result of my contemplations on how my religious friends my age are so quick to dismiss most of the idiotic parts of the Bible. So I obviously know that most Christians (at least the ones I choose to associate myself with) do not literally believe everything the Bible says.
Then to say that I don’t understand the Christan faith is laughable. I grew up in the Church and went to private Christian school up until high school. I understand the Christian faith, but I eventually realized that it’s just as fictional as all the other religious faiths we are taught to believe are false, or even better, the work of the devil.
I find myself frustrated by Christians who support gays and/or same-sex marriage. One one hand, I want to thank them for not supporting the violation of my civil rights. On the other hand, I want to explain to them how that actually makes them a crappy Christian. Hear me out…
The Bible (which if you are an actual Christian, you believe to be the word of God) says, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” - Leviticus 20:13 (NIV). There isn’t much room for “interpretation” there, despite what the non-bat shit crazy Christians would understandably like to believe.
A death sentence for loving someone of the same sex may sound harsh, but seeing as God forbids bowl cuts, football, pulling out, tattoos, polyester, divorce, braided hair, wearing gold and shellfish, I guess being reasonable has never really been his thing. Oh and ladies, let’s not forget that if your hubby says you weren’t a virgin on your wedding night, all the men of the town are supposed to gather outside your daddy’s house for your stoning. (Check out Deuteronomy 22:13-21, because I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.)
Are you one of those Christians who believes that gay people can still go to Heaven? “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” - 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV). Damn, Paul. Harsh.
If you’re wondering why the angry God of the Old Testament doesn’t exactly line up with the slightly less angry God of the New Testament, there’s a explanation for that. Unfortunately for the non-bat shit crazy Christians, picking and choosing to follow the nice parts of the Bible, but not the fucked up parts, means you’ve really just created your own personal offshoot of Christianity.
While the Bible has always required some “interpretation” on the reader’s part, the verses above are very clear. To “interpret” them differently would simply be picking and choosing which parts of “God’s word” you have decided to ignore. Don’t worry, I’d rather you be an awesome person but a shitty Christian as opposed to a shitty person but an awesome Christian any day of the week.
Organized religion is extremely dated, and at this point in time, it is unnecessary. With some critical analysis, you’ll find that organized religion is nothing more than dogmatic bullshit.